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Nepal Restaurant Replaces Its Waiters With Robots

Paaila Technology has spent around 15 million Nepali rupees ($134,568) on research and development in the last few years.

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Source: Pixabay

A newly-launched restaurant in the capital of Nepal is using robots as waiters under the slogan, “where food meets technology”.

The Naulo Restaurant (“naulo” means new in Nepali) operates with the help of five robots, three named Ginger and two named Ferry, designed and manufactured by Paaila Technology, a Nepali company established by six young engineers, specializing in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) technology, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

“Naulo is the first digitalized robotic restaurant not just in Nepal, but also in South Asia. We believe that our robot is one of the most advanced service robots in the world which is user friendly and very easy to operate,” Binay Raut, CEO of Paaila Technology and Naulo Restaurant, told Xinhua.

The restaurant has a menu implanted in digital screens on tables from where orders can be placed directly to the kitchen. After the dishes are ready, the robots collect them from the kitchen counter and serve the customers.

This is the first time in the Himalayan country that a restaurant has used “Made in Nepal” robots as servers.

Robot waiter
The restaurant has a menu implanted in digital screens on tables. Flickr

Raut, 27, who completed engineering studies in India and the UK, said: “We travelled to different countries including China and Japan to learn about the design, framework and operation of robots before launching it in Nepal. Now, our target is to introduce this Nepali innovation in the international market.”

Robot Ginger is powered with swarm intelligence, speech recognition, natural language processing, auto-dock ability, among others. The robot also cracks jokes and answers basic IQ questions in both English and Nepali.

Paaila Technology entered the hospitality sector after the operation of its first humanoid robot named Pari stationed in a branch of Nepal SBI Bank.

Also Read: Children Get a New Reading Companion in This New Robot

Pari has been deployed in the digital branch of the bank known as inTouch branch, which functions as a source of information and guides customers. The robot started work by greeting customers with “Good afternoon. Welcome to Nepal SBI InTouch”.

Paaila Technology has spent around 15 million Nepali rupees ($134,568) on research and development in the last few years.

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Facebook To Invest $300Mn In Local News Partnerships, Programs

The idea behind the investments, Brown said, is to look “holistically at how a given publisher can define a business model."

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Facebook owned photo-messaging app Instagram already supports the "Unsend" capability VOA

Facebook says it is investing $300 million over the next three years in local news programs, partnerships and other initiatives.

The money will go toward reporting grants for local newsrooms, expanding Facebook’s program to help local newsrooms with subscription business models and investing in nonprofits aimed at supporting local news.

The move comes at a difficult time for the news industry, which is facing falling profits and print readership. Facebook, like Google, has also been partly blamed for the ongoing decline in newspapers’ share of advertising dollars as people and advertisers have moved online.

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A user gets ready to launch Facebook on an iPhone, in North Andover, Mass., June 19, 2017. Facebook has made changes to fight false information, including de-emphasizing proven false stories in people’s feeds so others are less likely to see them. VOA

Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of global news partnerships, acknowledges the company “can’t uninvent the internet,” but says it wants to work with publishers to help them succeed on and off the social network.

“The industry is going through a massive transition that has been underway for a long time,” she said. “None of us have quite figured out ultimately what the future of journalism is going to look like but we want to be part of helping find a solution.”

Facebook has increased its focus on local news in the past year after starting off 2018 with the announcement that it was generally de-emphasizing news stories and videos in people’s feeds on the social network in favor of posts from their friends.

At the same time, though, the company has been cautiously testing out ways to boost local news stories users are interested in and initiatives to support the broader industry. It launched a feature called “Today In” that shows people local news and information , including missing-person alerts, road closures, crime reports and school announcements, expanding it to hundreds of cities around the U.S. and a few in Australia.

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Silhouettes of laptop users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this illustration. VOA

The push to support local news comes as Facebook, which is based in Menlo Park, California, tries to shake off its reputation as a hotbed for misinformation and elections-meddling. The company says users have been asking to see more local content that is relevant to them, including news stories as well as community information such as road closings during a snowstorm.

The $300 million investment includes a $5 million grant to the nonprofit Pulitzer Center to launch “Bringing Stories Home,” a fund that will provide local U.S. newsrooms with reporting grants to support coverage of local issues. There’s also a $2 million investment in Report for America as part of a partnership aiming to place 1,000 journalists in local newsrooms across the country over the next five years.

The idea behind the investments, Brown said, is to look “holistically at how a given publisher can define a business model. Facebook can’t be the only answer, the only solution — we don’t want the publisher to be dependent on Facebook.”

Also Read: Democratic Lawmakers Further Investigate Russia’s Involvement In U.S. Election

Fran Wills, CEO of the Local Media Consortium, which is receiving $1 million together with the Local Media Association to help their member newsrooms develop new revenue streams, said she is optimistic the investment will help.

“I think they are recognizing that trusted, credible content is of benefit not only to local publishers but to them,” she said. (VOA)